Album: The Abode
Street Date: January 25th, 2019
Label: Outside In Music
Having lent his talents to a myriad of recordings as both a musician and engineer, bassist Jake Leckie is now thrilled to establish himself as a bandleader, composer and arranger on The Abode. Joined by Kenny Warren on trumpet and flugelhorn, Sebastien Ammann on piano and Nathan Ellman-Bell on drums, along with other special guests, Jake Leckie presents this eight-track collection as a meditation on migration, understanding, and empathy. Paying tribute to the people and places that have collectively attributed to Leckie’s identity, the compositions heard on The Abode evoke a true sense of place and home. On Friday January 11, Leckie will preview The Abode at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 at 11:30 PM in New York City. On Thursday February 21, the album release show will be at ArtShare L.A. at 8pm in Los Angeles.
Initially, Leckie intended on having a quartet solely record on this album. However, upon making the decision to move with his wife from New York to LA just ahead of recording, the bi-coastal bassist brought together a melting pot of featured musicians: a string quartet comprised of Andrei Matorin, Tomoko Omura, and Agustin Uriburu with arrangements by Danny Jonokuchi, vocalist Alexis Morrast who gave life to lyrics written by Leckie’s wife Becca on “After the Flood”, organist Ivey Paige and tambourine player Brenda Trotter-Workman, saxophonist Caroline Davis and percussionist Daniel Prim. During production, Leckie was joined by one of his closest bass friends, Adam Hopkins. This amalgamation of friends and colleagues was no accident - “bringing all of these people in just as I left New York made this project a capstone of my experience there and showed me how much of a home I had carved out during my tenure”, Leckie reflects. When Leckie, known for his “polyphonic openness to anything and everything” composes, he borrows a concept from design, known as “MAYA”: most advanced yet acceptable. With a compositional approach reflective of Charles Mingus and Brian Blade Fellowship, and a group improvisational style that has been compared to Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet with Charlie Haden, Leckie strives to create music that is elevated, acoustic and organic, while simultaneously burrowing a deep engagement with his audience.
The opening and title track of the album is reminiscent of Alice Coltrane’s concept of Heaven, "The Supreme Abode”, a term found in her memoir, Monument Eternal. Leckie appreciates how Coltrane’s groovy modal free-jazz spoke to the civil rights movement of her time - “this is not a political record, but I do believe it is important for us to realize that we are all migratory people, and through this project by exploring my roots I see where I came from, and have empathy towards those leaving their homes searching for a better life”.
Among other stand-out tracks on the album is “After the Flood”, which sympathizes with the people of Houston and Puerto Rico. These victims of natural disaster were faced with the heartbreaking decision of leaving behind their houses - their homes - forever. “Negev” is inspired by Abraham’s journey through The Negev desert upon being banished from Egypt. Leckie reflects upon Abraham’s story as being one of the first migration stories to be written down. Amongst other tunes on the album, both of these compositions display Leckie’s thoughts on the various reasons people leave their homes - sometimes it is to search for something, sometimes it is to escape danger, and sometimes you have no choice. Featuring Ivey Paige and Brenda Trotter-Workman - two fellow musicians who lend their talents to the weekly services at the Parkchester Baptist Church - “Morning Sound” is dedicated to the church, in which Leckie experienced his deepest musical and spiritual development. “Perseverance” brings the album to a close on a positive note. While exploring our world, reflecting upon our deepest experiences and escaping natural disasters, Leckie urges his listeners to maintain their faith in knowing that the good place is just ahead of us.
MORE ABOUT JAKE LECKIE
Jake Leckie is a bi-coastal bassist who has toured with Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Sixto "Sugarman" Rodriguez, and Cat Toren's “Human Kind.” This “Jazz Bass Wizard” has played the top venues and festivals internationally, including The Blue Note, The Apollo Theatre, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, The Newport Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, and The Havana Jazz Festival. Embracing a wide variety of music from around the world, he has shared the stage or the studio with Yo-Yo Ma, Marc Ribot, Matthew Whittaker, Alexis Morrast, Jane Monheit, Nick Mancini, Danny Janklow, The Harlem Gospel Travelers, The Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Cesar Orozco, The Cris Jacobs Band, Lyn Taitt, Warren Wolf, Ran Blake, Matana Roberts, Ursula Rucker, Susan Alcorn, Christopher McBride & The Whole Proof, and The String Orchestra of Brooklyn. His compositions have been featured in the Baltimore Museum of Art, the documentary Off in the Far Away Somewhere: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaii, and the absurdist dance comedy film Snow Bing Bongs. He was born in Boston, MA, and studied with John Lockwood, and Michael Formanek. Via Brookline, Barcelona, Banff, Montreal, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Brooklyn, Jake currently resides in Los Angeles and moonlights as an audio-engineer and composer for film.
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"Lots of variations, but always an attractive groove underneath for support." Read the full review here.
"All of the compositions are Leckie’s, but the blend of musicians adds a lot of variety and is quite effective." Read the full review here.
BIRD IS THE WORM
"I like that it doesn’t matter whether Jake Leckie runs with an old-school or new-school approach, the result is a warm sound crackling with life." Full review here.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Morning Sound" is a soulful piece, opening with Ivey Paige's organ. Warren takes over on trumpet before the multi-talented Leckie leaps in and goes to town on bass—a jazz star is surely born. Read the full review here.
"The Abode is a really strong debut from Jake Leckie – very listenable and accessible with a very high standard of musicianship – now who will book the band for a UK tour?" Full review here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"Jake Leckie endeavors to create music that not only elevates but engages his musicians and his listening audience with both acoustic and organic substance." Full review here.
"[Leckie] really cuts loose here with a date that takes you back to the day without it being a stroll down memory lane. High octane throughout, there's just as much steak here as there is sizzle. Well done." Read the full review here.
"As a composer, he's got a good ear for melody, but he excels as effectively in calling forth quality performances from his bandmates. In that regard, Warren and Ammann bring authoritative performances to the date, and Ellman-Bell's no wallflower either. He and Leckie animate the brisk “Bam Bam” with drive, inciting a bravura turn from the trumpeter and a rollicking, high-wire one by the pianist". Read the full review here.
D. OSCAR GROOMES
O'S PLACE JAZZ NEWSLETTER
"Leckie incorporates strings throughout the set to bring a degree of elegance that is rare but appreciated on a modern jazz recording. "